The Cockneys: Hazlitt, Lamb, And Hunt
SOURCE: "III" and "IV," in The Essay, Martin Secker, 1915, pp. 36-47, 48-63.
[In the following excerpt, Williams discusses the accomplishment of the major nineteenth-century English essayists and posits the defining characteristics of the true essayist.]
Towards the end of the eighteenth century, by some miracle that has been variously explained, the civilized world, which had been modern before, suddenly became modern again after some eighty years of being old-fashioned. There is no need to recall the astounding wonders of that time—the French Revolution, the rise of Napoleon, the mortal convulsions of Europe, the Romantic...
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